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Jeffrey Kahane to Conduct, Perform with Alisa Weilerstein and the New York Philharmonic

Jeffrey Kahane to Conduct, Perform with Alisa Weilerstein and the New York Philharmonic

Jeffrey Kahane will return to the New York Philharmonic to conduct Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17, from the piano; conduct Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, with cellist Alisa Weilerstein as soloist; and conduct Haydn's Symphony No. 98, from the fortepiano, Thursday, January 4, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, January 5 at 11:00 a.m.; Saturday, January 6 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, January 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Alisa Weilerstein made her debut with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), led by then music director Jeffrey Kahane, performing Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme. The Los Angeles Times praised her return appearance with LACO in May 2013, saying: "Weilerstein had been on LACO music director Jeffrey Kahane's radar three years before she made her debut with the orchestra. ... She's now a star. ... With Kahane, she had generous support."

Former Music Director Leonard Bernstein - whom the New York Philharmonic celebrated this season with Bernstein's Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival, October 25-November 14, 2017 - conducted Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 from the piano in a televised lecture-concert with the Philharmonic in 1959. He said: "If I absolutely had to name my all-time favorite piece of music, I think I would vote for the Andante we are to hear now. Brilliant - that is the word for this marvelous rococo set of variations."

The program features Haydn paying homage to Mozart, and both Mozart and Tchaikovsky creating variations on a rococo theme. These influences are also explored in the Young People's Concert Inspirations and Tributes: "Classical Echoes," led by Jeffrey Kahane on January 6, 2018. The program features Mr. Kahane leading from the piano and conducting, with cellist Sterling Elliott as soloist in his New York Philharmonic debut.


Equally at home at the keyboard and on the podium, Jeffrey Kahane has established an international reputation as a versatile artist, with a diverse repertoire ranging from J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven to Gershwin, Osvaldo Golijov, and John Adams. He has appeared as soloist and conductor with major orchestras such as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, and is also a popular artist at all of the major U.S. summer festivals, including Aspen, Blossom, Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, and Ravinia. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1983 and has given recitals in major music centers in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Since his conducting debut at the Oregon Bach Festival in 1988, Mr. Kahane has led many of the major U.S. orchestras. He was music director of the Colorado and Santa Rosa Symphonies, and just concluded his 20-year tenure as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, of which he is now conductor laureate. He is currently artistic director of the Sarasota Music Festival, which offers master classes and chamber music coaching and features chamber music and orchestral concerts performed by highly advanced students, young professionals, and faculty members. Recent and upcoming engagements include playing with and conducting the New York Philharmonic and the Houston, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Colorado, San Diego, and Phoenix symphony orchestras; concerto appearances with the Toronto, Cincinnati, New World, Oregon, and Utah symphony orchestras; and appearances at the Aspen, Britt, Oregon Bach, and Tippet Rise festivals as well as with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia and with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. Recognized for his innovative programming and commitment to education and community involvement, he received ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming for his work in both Los Angeles and Denver. He has recorded for the Sony, EMI, Telarc, RCA, Nonesuch, Deutsche Grammophon, Virgin Records, Decca / Argo and Haenssler labels. A Los Angeles native and graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Jeffrey Kahane received first prize at the 1983 Rubinstein Competition, was a finalist at the 1981 Van Cliburn Competition, and received a 1983 Avery Fisher Career Grant. He is currently a professor of keyboard studies at the University of Southern California-Thornton School of Music. Mr. Kahane made his New York Philharmonic debut in 1984 performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, conducted by Neal Stulberg; he most recently performed the World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Commission of Andrew Norman's Split, for piano and orchestra, led by James Gaffigan, in December 2015. Jeffrey Kahane made his New York Philharmonic conducting debut in December 2003, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto in E-flat major, K.482 from the piano and conducting works by Mozart and Haydn; he most recently conducted the Orchestra in an all-Mozart program in June 2015, including leading the Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 21 from the piano.

"A young cellist whose emotionally resonant performances of both traditional and contemporary music have earned her international recognition ... Weilerstein is a consummate performer, combining technical precision with impassioned musicianship," stated the MacArthur Foundation when awarding American cellist Alisa Weilerstein a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship. Ms. Weilerstein's 2017-18 season includes performances of Schumann's Cello Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck and The Philadelphia Orchestra led by Christoph Eschenbach; Barber's Cello Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Neeme Järvi and The Cleveland Orchestra under Alan Gilbert; and Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme with the New York Philharmonic led by Jeffrey Kahane. She also plays a series of duo recitals on tour with her regular recital partner, Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan, beginning at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall. Other concerto appearances include Shostakovich with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin led by James Conlon; Prokofiev with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden; Shostakovich and Dvo?ák on a U.K. tour with the Czech Philharmonic led by Ji?í B?lohlávek; and Lutos?awski's Cello Concerto with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra led by Krzysztof Urban?ski. Alisa Weilerstein's career milestones include an emotionally tumultuous account of Elgar's Cello Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic led by Daniel Barenboim in Oxford, England, and a performance at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. An ardent champion of new music, she has worked on multiple projects with Osvaldo Golijov and Matthias Pintscher and premiered works by Pascal Dusapin, Lera Auerbach, and Joseph Hallman. Ms. Weilerstein's honors include Lincoln Center's 2008 Martin E. Segal prize and the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Columbia University. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she is a celebrity advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Alisa Weilerstein made her New York Philharmonic debut in July 2002 performing Saint-Saëns's Cello Concerto No. 1, conducted by Asher Fish, during the Concerts in the Parks. She most recently appeared with the Orchestra in July 2015 during its Bravo! Vail residency performing Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme led by her brother, then Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein.


After Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) moved to Vienna in 1781, much of his income was earned through public concerts in which he played his own music, and thus his popularity with Viennese concertgoers can be gauged by the number of piano concertos he wrote each year. The peak was in 1784, when he produced six new concertos, including the Piano Concerto No. 17. The work, however, may not have been written for Mozart's own use, but rather requested by Gottfried von Ployer and intended for his daughter, Barbara (often called Babette) - one of the most engaging and cultivated members of Viennese society, and one of Mozart's most gifted pupils in both piano and composition. It is a joyous work, one of only six Mozart piano concertos published during his lifetime. It is said that Mozart's pet starling could whistle the first five measures of the concerto - though it is unknown which came first: the starling's tune or the concerto. The National Symphony Orchestra (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1921) first performed the work in April 1921, with Ern? Dohnányi leading from the piano; Lang Lang performed the Orchestra's most recent presentation of the concerto, led by then Music Director Alan Gilbert, in October 2014.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93) composed his Variations on a Rococo Theme, the closest he ever came to a cello concerto, in 1876 for the German cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen. Nikolai Rubenstein led the work's premiere in Moscow the following year. Tchaikovsky had asked for Fitzenhagen's opinion, and the cellist took a heavy hand with the score, even rearranging the order of the variations, resulting in the version that is most frequently performed today. The work expands upon a theme with a clarity and restraint reminiscent of Mozart. The graceful piece betrays little of the grievous depression its composer felt while writing it; his opera Vakula the Smith had just endured what he called a "brilliant failure" in Saint Petersburg, and performances of Romeo and Juliet in Paris and Venice were equally unsuccessful. The Philharmonic first performed the work in March 1901, with Hugo Becker as soloist and led by Emil Paur; its most recent performance was in July 2015 during the Orchestra's annual Bravo! Vail residency, led by then Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein with Alisa Weilerstein as soloist.

Joseph Haydn's (1732-1809) Symphony No. 98 is part of his set of London symphonies, his final symphonic cycle. It was composed for a 1792 performance in London and was the first piece Haydn wrote after hearing of Mozart's death in December 1791. In January he wrote: "For some time I was beside myself about his death. I only regret that before his death he could not convince the English, who walk in darkness in this respect, of his greatness - a subject about which I have been sermonizing to them every single day." With its dark, turbulent opening and joyous finale, the work was immediately well received, and subsequent performances later that year bolstered its popularity. The work is unique for its use of continuo in the final movement - the only time Haydn included a keyboard part in a symphonic score. The Philharmonic first performed the piece in December 1931, led by Hans Lange; the Orchestra most recently performed it in October 2000, led by Colin Davis.

Single tickets for this performance start at $32. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the David Geffen Hall Box Office. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of $18 tickets for select concerts may be available for students within 10 days of the performance at, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. (Ticket prices subject to change.)


New York Philharmonic

David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center

Thursday, January 4, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Open Rehearsal - 9:45 a.m.
Friday, January 5, 2018, 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, January 6, 2018, 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Jeffrey Kahane, conductor / piano
Alisa Weilerstein, cello

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 17
TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme
HAYDN Symphony No. 98

All Programs Subject To Change

Pictured: Jeffrey Kahane with the NY Philharmonic. Photo by Chris Lee.

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